WASHINGTON, D.C.—Trust. That was a word that resonated with the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) during their second meeting at the USDA Whitten building here last Thursday.
"We connected," observed the Advisory Committee’s vice-chair Erick Coolidge after the Dairy Policy Action Coalition (DPAC) presented its "Cornerstone for Change" at the June 3 meeting. "We were all leaning forward. They caught everyone’s attention."
He said DPAC has given some things the Committee’s chairman Andrew Novakovic can begin writing for September-the first of two deadlines from Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"Right now, the bottom line is we don’t trust the tools we have. We need to make the tools better," Rob Barley told the Advisory Committee. Barley is a Lancaster County, Pa. dairy producer who serves as a vice-chair of the DPAC charter board. "To look forward, to make decisions, or to get protection, we have to first understand what is going on in our market.
"The CME is not heavily traded enough to justify having the influence it does right now on our milk price," he said further. "We need price reporting that is done on a daily basis and includes more products, so farmers can see every day what happened every day. We as dairy farmers feel very inadequate in being able to look at what’s happening in our market the way it’s done right now."
Barley was joined at the podium by former Pennsylvania Ag Secretary Dennis Wolff, who serves as DPAC’s government relations consultant.
"Dairy farmers feel strongly that we need improved price discovery with good information and a broad cross-section of products," Wolff explained.